Newman Catholic Student Center celebrates 50 years of Thanksgivi - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Newman Catholic Student Center celebrates 50 years of Thanksgiving

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CARBONDALE, Ill. -- This Thanksgiving marks 50 years of serving turkey dinners to Carbondale locals for the Newman Catholic Student Center. The event started as a way to feed college students who couldn't make it home for the holiday, but has grown to become a community event. 

Resident Colleen Choe has been attending the dinner for the past 30 years, only making an exception a few times to spend time with family out of state.

"My grandparents sent me tickets to come out to California to visit. But God rest their souls, they've passed on now," she says.

Choe keeps coming back for the good company, "One, I know a lot of people that work it. Two, I get invited by different people each year, so I come to visit with them and enjoy the dinner with them." 

Peter Young only recently started the tradition, enjoying his third dinner at the center. This year, Young decided to attend because his roommate is working, "Walmart. Stock. It's a big day though. Black Friday, the biggest shopping day of the year."

Young and Choe are just two of the estimated 300 to 500 people who will dine-in at the center. While another 200 meals were delivered to homes earlier in the day. 

The dinner wouldn't be possible without volunteers like JP Dunn, who began helping out 26 years ago, "My grandmother passed away and the last meal that I spent with her was Thanksgiving and I wanted to do something." 

Whether a volunteer or a local who keeps coming back, all say they have something to be thankful for this Thanksgiving.

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